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Successful Tokyo Games gives 'precious gift of hope'

By WANG XU in Tokyo and MO JINGXI in Beijing | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-08-09 07:07
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Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo (right) waves the Olympic flag as International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach (second right) and Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike (left) applaud during the flag handover at the closing ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Sunday at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan. Paris is scheduled to host the 2024 Games. [Photo/Agencies]

Held under the specter of a pandemic and threats of cancellation, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games wound up on Sunday-a success story that brought hope to the world.

International Olympic Chief Thomas Bach declared the Tokyo Games "unprecedented" and the "most challenging Olympic journey" as he addressed the near-empty 68,000-seat Olympic Stadium at the closing ceremony.

"In these difficult times we are all living through, you give the world the most precious of gifts: hope," Bach told athletes attending the ceremony.

The next Summer Olympics is scheduled for Paris in 2024, but the Olympic flame will burn again in six months when Beijing hosts the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

Over the 16-day sports extravaganza in Tokyo, a total of 339 medal events were held across 33 sports with skateboarding, surfing, sport climbing and karate making their debuts. A total of 94 different countries and regions claimed a medal at Tokyo, more than at any other Games.

After a late flourish, the United States topped the medal table just ahead of China, followed by Japan.

The Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council extended their congratulations and sincere greetings to the Chinese delegation on Sunday, wishing them a safe return on behalf of the country and the Chinese people.

Both hailed the excellent achievements of the delegation during the course of the Olympic Games, despite challenges and difficulties faced amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Chinese delegation was urged to continue carrying forward their good tradition to further improve China's comprehensive strength in competitive sports and to arouse the enthusiasm of Chinese people, especially teenagers, for physical exercise.

The US topped the medal table with 39 golds, 41 silvers and 33 bronzes. Team China was in second with 38 gold, 32 silver and 18 bronze medals, followed by Japan with 27 gold, 14 silver and 17 bronze medals.

Team Chinese Taipei earned two golds, four silvers and six bronzes and Team Hong Kong claimed one gold, two silver and three bronze medals.

Sprinter Su Bingtian was chosen as Team China's flag-bearer at the closing ceremony. He was honored as the first Chinese to qualify for an Olympic men's 100-meter final as well as setting a new Asian record of 9.83 seconds in the semifinals.

"It's an honor like no other. To be an athlete, to represent China in this closing ceremony is a huge privilege," Su said.

"In Tokyo, I can see that we have made a huge improvement in athletics. For China to hit 9.83 seconds is something we've never been able to do before. This means that China has changed from a country that watches, to a country that stands shoulder to shoulder with the big guys."


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